NHS uses RSS to tame info overload

As employees struggle to read an increasing amount of work-related material, some companies have turned to RSS (Really Simple Syndication) technology to improve productivity.

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With RSS servers and readers designed for workplaces, IT departments set up internal information feeds that employees can subscribe to, a delivery mechanism that, for some information, can be more precise and effective than e-mail.

"The first problem we see addressed regularly with enterprise RSS systems is e-mail overload. Most knowledge workers these days are just about completely fed up with e-mail," said Oliver Young, a Forrester Research analyst.

An enterprise RSS system is ideal for delivering the type of information employees need to know about, but not necessarily act on right away, Young said.

RSS keeps need-to-know information out of the e-mail channel, which for most people is "a need-to-do task list sort of thing," Young said.

Often those need-to-know e-mails -- such as a corporate benefits update or a newsletter - end up getting deleted or ignored, even though employees recognize that they may contain potentially important information.

For example, a company could post human resource messages and documents on the intranet's human resources section and send RSS alerts with the appropriate links, instead of blasting out the information via mass e-mails.

RSS feeds became popular initially as a convenient way for Web publishers to alert their readers about new articles and changed information on their sites.

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